Aeromedical Pediatric Burn Transportation: A Six-Year Review

Petra Warner, John K Bailey, Laura Bowers, Rachel Hermann, Laura E James, John E McCall
Journal of Burn Care & Research: Official Publication of the American Burn Association 2016, 37 (2): e181-7
Aeromedical transportation has been shown to be a safe and efficient mode of transportation for critical care patients, including adult burn patients. Common flight concerns specific to the care of the burn patient are maintenance of intravenous lines and airway access, precision of ongoing fluid resuscitation, and effective treatment of hemodynamic instability. These concerns are particularly crucial when patients are transported by flight teams with limited burn experience. The purpose of this study was to review the safety and outcomes associated with 6 years of aeromedical pediatric burn transportation and to ascertain if differences exist when using a dedicated burn pediatric flight team versus a non-dedicated burn pediatric flight teams. Through a retrospective, IRB approved, chart review from January 2007 to January 2013, all aeromedical admissions were evaluated for demographic data, flight data, complications, and medical interventions. A total of 333 patients were transported by air, of which 282 transfers occurred during the first week of burn injury. In-flight complications occurred in <10% of patients and primarily involved airway and hemodynamic issues. There were no in-flight deaths. Patients transported by alternate teams were noted to be more hypothermic and hypotensive on admission (p < .001). Alternate teams were also noted to transfer older patients, spend less time with initial patient evaluation, and travelled shorter distances (p < .05). Aeromedical transportation of the pediatric burn patient is safe and associated with minimal complications. Communications with the transferring hospitals can facilitate transfer of the pediatric burn patient. When using alternate flight teams, particular attention should focus on resuscitation and maintenance of euthermia with large burn patients.


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